Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online


Flashback: 50 years ago

Fifty years ago saw the assassination of US president John F Kennedy (on 22 November 1963) and the debut of long-running science-fiction TV program Doctor Who (23 November 1963).

What were Australian filmmakers producing in 1963? We feature a selection of titles from that year on our homepage.

The 1970s feature film revival was still several years away and no dramatic features were made in Australia in 1963 at all. But Giorgio Mangiamele’s short feature Ninety Nine Per Cent did play in a Melbourne cinema as a supporting short and won an Honourable mention at the AFI Awards.

Winner of the top Documentary prize at the AFI Awards was The Land that Waited, produced by the ABC. Antarctic Pioneers also screened in 1963, an example of the output of the Australian government’s National Film Board.

Popular local content on commercial TV included quiz show Pick a Box (pictured), hosted by Bob Dyer and adapted from a radio show. The ABC mounted a lavish production of the opera The Pearl Fishers in its TV studios, complete with a 30-foot square swimming pool.

Also featured on the homepage are two types of content that were later mostly superseded by television: cinema newsreels and sponsored films, including a military film that was classified as confidential at the time.

See all 1963 titles on ASO.

You can watch more government films on the NFSA Films YouTube channel.

Ikara the Weapon Thrower sponsored film – 1963

The Land That Waited television program – 1963

The Pearl Fishers television program – 1963

Ninety Nine Per Cent short feature – 1963

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